Strengthening Resilience: The Impact of Place-Based Education on Early Adolescent Students' Social-Emotional Development

Kuhn, Brittanie
Mental health issues are on the rise in early adolescent (EA) students, with concerns such as anxiety and depression increasing at alarming rates (Fontenelle-Tereshchuk, 2021). Given that students spend a substantial portion of time in educational settings, recent literature has asserted that schools are acknowledging their critical role in students’ social-emotional development (Eccles & Roeser, 2011). However, teachers often lack strategies and support to address the mental health needs of EA students. It is also unrealistic to expect teachers who already experience role overload to address these concerns on top of implementing the curriculum (McAllister et al., 2017). If teachers are to navigate this additional role, it is clear that they require comprehensive strategies that move beyond traditional classroom methodologies. Among these approaches, place-based education (PBE) emerges as a compelling option that enriches academic learning and catalyzes student social-emotional growth and resilience (Deringer, 2017; Smith, 2013). This mixed methods, explanatory sequential case study explores the impacts of PBE on the social-emotional resilience of EA students. Surveys and interviews revealed varying levels of resilience among students of a place-based public school. Interview themes surfaced specific aspects of PBE that may impact students' resilience. The findings suggest that while autonomy is valuable, guidance and expectations within PBE are essential to support a range of students in their resilience development within a school setting. The research underscores the importance of hands-on, collaborative, inquiry-driven PBE practices in nurturing students’ growth mindsets, self-efficacy, and relational supports for fostering resilience and holistic development.
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University of Wyoming Libraries
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Place-based Education,Resilience,Early Adolescent,Mental Health,Social-emotional learning
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